Nebraska Counties Fighting Wrongful Death Lawsuit

February 20, 2013

County officials in western Nebraska are seeking the dismissal of a lawsuit over the death of a 47-year-old woman in the Box Butte County jail.

Lori Heiting, of Hay Springs, died Dec. 4, 2010, after she was found unresponsive in her cell. She had been arrested near Chadron in Dawes County the day before on suspicion of driving under the influence, and transferred to a jail in neighboring Box Butte County.

Heiting’s daughter, Jennifer Young of Hay Springs, filed a lawsuit last month claiming the counties were negligent and violated Heiting’s constitutional rights to due process and equal protection.

On Thursday, the counties filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit, saying Young missed the two-year deadline to file and that the counties are protected from such lawsuits by sovereign immunity.

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